A MODIFIED PRESENTATION MASHGIACH'S PRE SHAVUOS SHIUR AT KOLLELH
As we approach shavuos we ask how does Torah relate to ME or how can I
better relate to the Torah.
We will delve a bit into how the Torah truly (should) relates to a
person on a very, real, deeply individual level.
There is a very widespread impression (quite pronounced recently by
the Israeli Gov.) of Talmidei Chachamim as being "parasites".
This not a new phenomena. The gemara sanhedrin (99b) says that an
apikores is one who claims "mai ahani lan Rabbanan, L'didhu kari..." -
"What service do the rabbis do for us, for THEMSELVES they study!" The
gemara says this notion is actually against pessukim -"Im lo brisi
yomam valayla....& v'nasasi es kol hamakom.... - which tell us that
Torah study holds up the world & can save complete cities of sinners!
This gemara clearly teaches that Torah is not self serving, rather it
is a communal and even universal service.
This seems quite contradictory to the famous Gemara (Pesachim )about
R' Yosi's festive spirit on shavuos. As Rashi explains "I lav hai
yoma, kamma Yosi ika b'shuk" - "If not for Torah which raises me, i'd
be no different than the common Yosi."
All of humanity seeks individuality. Some feel it in their dress, some
in their car etc. These are quite shallow forms of one's unique
identity. R' Yosi was joyous in the true individuality that the Torah
brought out in himself.
Similarly, R' Sheishes would tell himself to be happy, because "lach
kra'i, lach tana'i" - "for yourself you have learned."
These stories seem to validate the 'selfish' impression the world has
of Talmidei Chachamim and seems to contradict the earlier gemara that
says torah study is a service to the world!
However the gemara itself answers, that although Torah study provides
sustenance to the entire world, "me'ikra linafshei" - the root of it
is for the person himself.
This needs explanation.
Yavo gemara shlishi L'hachri'a beineihem.... the gemara (shabbos 114a
) considers a stain on one side of a cloth a chatzitza for 'bano'im' -
Builders, which refers to Talmidei Chachamim, who, are busy building
the world all their lives.
In davening we say don't call them banayich - children of Hashem, -
rather Bonayich - Hashem's builders. What's wrong with the title
'children of Hashem'? Is that not complimentary enough?
It must be that "BUILDER" is the truer essence of the Talmid Chacham.
We can see that they build in their later years as they guide & lead
klall yisrael. But how can the gemara say they build the world "all
R' Wolbe z"l answers, through Torah they Build themselves. That self
construction is what eventually builds the world.
Let me explain with an anecdote from the life of R' Wolbe himself.
When attending a conference of Rabbanim, he spent valuable time
beforehand, reading the 'program'. He explained that he was doing a
self analysis of which negative traits would be aroused when ploni
speaks on this topic & ploni on that topic. "You may ask" he'd say,
"that's nice but we're not here for that, didn't we come to solve
issues of the klall? However, let me assure you the convention in its
entirety will greatly gain from this."
The studying of Torah must relate to the real YOU. If studied
properly, it will reveal your true unique individuality, to work on,
improve and build. Only when the Torah talks to you personally, to
invoke change and development on a personal level, purifying the
negative traits, the self centeredness, and the ego, will it allow you
to build the world. It is through the personel building of character
that builds the world.
So it is true "lach kra'i, lach tana'i" the learning definitely builds
the learner. But not in a selfish, egoistic way, rather the whole
'self' building is actually for the improvement of the world at
Talmidei Chachamim build the world, but every Jew is a builder as
well. Building families, - we wish a new couple that his marriage
should be a binyan adei ad and they should build a bayis ne'eman.
How many Shalom Bayis issues would not exist if only we would be
building ourselves! Working on our own 'structure' of tikkun middos
would so much help the building of a strong healthy family!
The alter of Novardik said, before he began learning mussar he used to
blame the world. Once he began mussar he shared the blame with himself
as well. "Now," he said, "I take all the blame and I see the world
That self critique and analysis which the Torah draws out in the
individual is what allows one to truly build the world around him. Woe
is to the Israeli govt. officials who accuse the builders of the world
of being selfish. One day when they are audited for all the money they
mishandled etc. that it will be clear that "b'mumo pasal" all their
'building' of the land was for their own selfish wealth, power, or
The Torah talks to us if we delve into it honestly and steadily. It
will reveal in ourselves our true essence, our nature, our desires,
our hopes, our faults…. We must be open to it and listen well always
checking if we are up to par with what we just learned.
With the proper "lach kra'i, lach tana'i" we can build our marriages,
families, communities, and eventually the whole world.
Posted By KH to KollelH blog at 5/14/2013 03:07:00 AM